Nesting behaviour of the Coppersmith Barbet

The 15 year old, 8 m high albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria) on the grounds of Sun Chong Hong’s condo has been the nesting site for many generations of Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala indica).

“Recently, there were nesting activities again. On 12 Apr I saw a new nesting hole with a barbet at the entrance. To record progress, I used my camera on tripod placed near the nest, recording whatever activities around the nest hole between 9.30 to10 am daily. This was the best time in terms of lighting condition, weather permitting.

“From the videos, I saw the growth of the chick from waiting to be fed to aggressively grabbing food and pecking of adults’ body when the parents arrived. The chick’s call, which I have never heard before, was recorded right before my eyes when I saw its throat pulsating in tandem with the sound. Before that, I thought it was made by an unknown bird in the vicinity. There were other interesting episodes, such as the appearance of starlings, pigeon, lizards and flies on the scene. Feeding sessions were fast and furious, mostly completed in matter of seconds. But in one unusual one, it took almost two minutes. It appeared that the fruit being fed to the chick was quite big and the adult wanted to make sure that it was positioned properly close to the chick’s throat before releasing it.

“I have edited the videos, recorded between 12 Apr and 19 Jun this year, to make a complete nesting story of the Coppersmith Barbet. This is an amateur’s attempt to do a National Geographic.You are cordially invited to view the nesting story, split into two parts because of the length,

“The story was edited with videos taken between 12 Apr and 19 Jun 2010, almost daily around 9.30 to 10 am, weather permitting and when the lighting was most favourable.

Part 2:

“The chick grows healthily and appears to be ready to leave the nest …

“There was one observation not recorded in the video. I saw wood chips on the ground below the tree even as the chick grew. This led me to think that the barbets continued to enlarge the nest as the chick/s grew. However, later on I noticed that the Asian Glossy Starlings were at the rotting sections of this tree looking for parasites. They were chipping away the wood.

“There is a free multimedia player, namely vlc player, which enables video to be watched in slow motion, down to 1/4 speed or even screen by screen. With this player, you can download the Youtube video and watch the feedings in slow motion.

“PS This tree was featured in my earlier video on Asian Glossy Starlings catching alate termites/ants.”

Sun Chong Hong
23rd July 2010

2 Responses

  1. Khng Eu Meng

    I am in full appreciation of Mr Sun for recording and posting these videos here. It greatly helps in one’s understanding of these birds, which happen to be one of the birds that I love to see. I like to ask Mr Sun a few questions, so if you can kindly ask him if he would entertain them. If he would, please ask him to link up to my email address, which is provided here. Thank you.

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